Ohio State University Department of Integrated Systems Engineering

Location: Columbus, Ohio
Department: Industrial and Systems Engineering Program, Department of Integrated Systems Engineering

Quick links:

Program Background

Admission Requirements

Financial Assistance


Student Statistics

Application Process


Degree Requirements

Research/Teaching Opportunities


Directory of Graduate Programs



Title of program

Human Systems Integration Engineering (MS, PhD)

Joint program

With Aviation, Communication, Computer Science, Industrial Design, Education, and Psychology Departments

Year human factors/ergonomics program was established


Accredited by HFES?


Contact person for more information, including applications

Philip J. Smith, Industrial and Systems Engineering Program, Ohio State University, 210 Baker Systems, 1971 Neil Ave., Columbus, OH 43210; 614/292-4120;

Catalog (free)

Graduate Committee Chair, Industrial and Systems Engineering Program, Ohio State University, 210 Baker Systems, 1971 Neil Ave., Columbus, OH 43210

Web site

Academic calendar


Human factors/ergonomics graduate degrees offered

MS and PhD

Goals, objectives, and emphasis of the program

This highly interdisciplinary program emphasizes cognitive systems engineering and occupational biodynamics, allowing specialization in either area. A specialization in occupational safety and ergonomics is also available through the support of a NIOSH Training Grant (TPG). Students are able to take courses relevant to their programmatic goals from departments throughout the university and are also expected to be involved in the design and conduct of research studies. Research areas include cognitive systems engineering (artificial intelligence, computer-supported cooperative work and distributed work, human-computer interaction, and human error) and physical ergonomics (biomechanics - back and upper extremities, clinical assessment techniques, industrial risk surveillance), intervention development and validation. These research topics are studied in a number of applied contexts, including manufacturing, logistics, aviation, education, information systems, military command and control, and health care. 

Number of degrees granted during last 3 years

MS 12, PhD 13

Can students attend part-time?


Are required courses offered through distance learning?


Are required courses offered during summer?

Summer is typically reserved for co-op and research experience.

Does the university have an HFES student chapter?




Application deadlines

July 15 (fall), December 1 (spring)

Deadlines for students requesting funding, fall start

University fellowships, December 13 for U.S. applicants and November 30 for international applicants; other funding January 15 

Application fees

$40 for nonresident (non-Ohio) U.S. citizens; $50 for international students



Minimum requirements

GPA: 3.2 

GRE: Preference for scores of at least: Quantitative 166, Verbal 153, analytical writing score 4.5

Other: For those applicants required to submit the results of the TOEFL – the score must be at or above 550 on the paper-based (213 on the computer-based) Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), 82 on the Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB), 7 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam, or 79 on the Internet Based TOEFL Test. Preference for background that includes 1 year calculus, 1 course linear algebra, 1 course computer programming, 1 course probability and statistics. Additional background in computer science is highly desirable for the cognitive systems engineering program.

Importance of other criteria as admission factors

Research: medium 

Work experience: medium 

Letters: high 

Interview: high

Tuition and fees

Resident: $6,467/semester 

Nonresident: $9,272/semester



Number of students applying to the human factors/ergonomics program last year


Number of students accepted into the program last year


Number of students entering the program last year


Anticipated number of openings per year for the next two years




Percentage of students in program receiving financial assistance


Amount received per year

Tuition + stipend

Types of assistance available

Traineeship (occupational safety and ergonomics specialization), fellowship, TA, RA, all tuition exempt 

When should students apply for financial assistance?

With application



Graduate degrees offered

MS and PhD

Number of units required

MS: minimum 30 hours (includes 22 hours of course work and at least 4 hours of thesis research credit hours) 

PhD: 80 hours beyond BS; 30 hours of credit granted for an appropriate earned MS degree

Exams required

MS: oral defense of thesis

PhD: qualifying exam, dissertation, oral defense of dissertation

Language requirements


Research required


Practical experience required

MS: none

PhD: yes

Typical number of years required to obtain degree

MS: 2

PhD: 3 beyond MS

Is there a non-thesis option?




Required courses (units)

Cognitive ergonomics required courses:
Cognitive Systems Engineering (3), Experimental Design (3) Cognitive Systems Engineering (3), Experimental Design (3)

Physical ergonomics required courses:
Work Physiology and Biomechanics in Workplace Design (3), Experimental Design (3) 

Electives (units)

Cognitive ergonomics electives: 
Artificial Intelligence I (3), Artificial Intelligence II (3), Cognitive Engineering: Research and Design Methods (3), Decision Analysis (3), Expert Systems (3), Human-Computer Interaction (3), Human Error (3), Human Interaction with Intelligent Systems (3), Industrial Design (3), Instructional Design (3), Models in HF Engineering (3), Organizational Psychology (3), Psychology of Perception (3), Psychology of Decision Making (3), Psychology of Learning and Memory (3), Software Engineering (3), Usability Studies (3)

Physical ergonomics electives:
Occupational Safety: Analysis and Design of Work Environments (3), Biomechanics Research Practicum (3), Advanced Topics in Biomechanics and Musculoskeletal Disorders (3), Risk Assessment Tools for Occupational Musculoskeletal Disorders (3), Cognitive Systems Engineering (3), Engineering Mechanics (3), Epidemiology I (3), Epidemiology II (3), Epidemiology III (3), Ergonomics in Product Design (3), Exercise Physiology (3), Exercise Physiology II (3), Gross Anatomy (3), Principles of Occupational Health (4), Principles of Risk Assessment (4) 

Number of courses outside department that are required

MS 0, PhD 2

Number of courses outside department that are recommended

MS 1–3, PhD 3–5 

Average or typical class size in a required course




Research and support facilities available to students in the program: 

Focus is on applied, real-world contexts dealing with occupational safety and health, aviation, education and training, information systems, medicine and health care, and military systems. Excellent state-of-the-art facilities exist to support field and laboratory studies in these areas.

Teaching opportunities available to students in the program:
Students may teach two undergraduate courses (Cognitive Systems Engineering; Workplace Ergonomics).  

Current research activities and projects being carried out by program faculty and/or students:

Cognitive systems engineering: cooperative learning, distributed work, computer-supported cooperative work, human interaction with intelligent systems, human error, intelligent information systems, intelligent tutoring systems, military command and control, problem-based learning. Physical ergonomics: biomechanics (back and upper extremities), clinical assessment techniques, biomechanical mathematical modeling, industrial risk surveillance, laboratory biomechanical studies, computers in schools, musculoskeletal disorder intervention development and validation.



Current number of active students in program, by gender

11 men, 9 women

Current number of first-year students in program


Based on current graduate students in the program,
the mean score on admission tests and undergraduate
GPA by degree being sought are

GRE V: 152; GRE Q: 164



Steve Lavender, PhD 1990, Ohio State U.; orthopaedic ergonomics, biomechanics, training and behavior modification 

William S. Marras, PhD 1982, Wayne State U.; biomechanics (spine and upper extremities), clinical assessment techniques, industrial risk surveillance 

Philip J. Smith, PhD 1979, U. Michigan; distributed work and computer-supported cooperative work, intelligent tutoring systems, intelligent information systems 

Carolyn M. Sommerich, PhD 1994, Ohio State U.; biomechanics and ergonomics, childrens' use of computers, intervention research 

David D. Woods, PhD 1979, Purdue U.; human-computer interaction, human-computer cooperation, human error 

Mike Rayo, PhD, 2013, Ohio State U.; complex systems, decision sciences, visualization


Blaine Lilly, PhD 1998, Ohio State U.; product design engineering 

Elizabeth Sanders, PhD, Ohio State U.; participatory design research, generative design thinking, transdisciplinarity and collective creativity 

Richard J. Jagacinski, PhD 1973, U. Michigan; perceptual-motor skills, control theory, decision theory

[Updated August 2016]